"Sorrowful and Restless"
A Cross-Generational Selection of the Öner Kocabeyoğlu Art Collection on Melancholy
September 17 - October 15 2018
Akaretler/ SIRAEVLER 55
"Beauty of whatever kind in its supreme development invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.
Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones."
Edgar Allan Poe
According to Aristotle, those who lived in an authentic and passionate state of excitement were usually melancholic. Melancholy is the refined profundity of a consciousness that feels the desperation in the contradiction between desire and deprivation, sorrow and restlessness, yet "still imagines a form of hope amidst nothingness”1. Containing dole and sorrow, manifesting itself with hopelessness, deprivation, restlessness and apathy, melancholy is an extensive subject that has been the focus of many a thinker, writer and artist from Aristotle to Galenos, Avicenna, Montaigne, Freud, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Kristeva, and Butler. Meanwhile, Agamben identifies two common elements in different interpretations of melancholy: “Distancing from the object" and “introversion with an intent to cogitate”.2
Introversion and melancholy in art -intrinsic to the spirit of poetic and imaginary intoxication- is in a way an emotional barrier put up against the world. The artist remains behind this barrier in the relationship with the ruins of the world and history. This distance from being/existence through melancholy is, and has always been, one of the prerequisites to being a political subject.
The selection of the Öner Kocabeyoğlu Art Collection titled "Sorrowful and Restless" traces "melancholy" in its manifestations across generations of artists who have bestowed Turkish modern and contemporary art with their heritage, and continue to produce works within it. The works divulge the inner world of their creators, the mystery of objects, and the spirit of colors, while building a profound connection between sorrow and the viewer. They are felt as the products of defiance and hope, which at the culmination of experiences, questions and thoughts result in intense sorrow or a state of blissful restlessness. Because although melancholy may be right beside in-betweenness, sorrow, restlessness, contradictions and indecision, it is the only thing we can embrace; it reminds us of the hope promised by art, even in the time and place we live in.
Nejad Melih Devrim